British Library Labs:
Lesson learned in its first year
TRACK 2: EXPLOITING SEARCH, RESEARCH & DISCOVERY
Tools and e-resour...
Overview
• What is Labs?
• Lessons learned…
– getting content
– data driven approach, lessons learned
– running the first ...
What is British Library Labs?
• 2 Year Andrew Mellon funded project.
• Encouraging scholars to do research and development...
Our Brand…
At the beginning of the project…

Let loose on our digital collections
Now…

Experiment with our digital collec...
How Labs works in pictures…
idea

Competition
Other
outputs…

BL Digital
Collection /
Data

Contact
Software

idea
BL Digi...
Stakeholders involved in Labs
Researchers
Researchers

Digital
Scholarship
Team
Digital
Curators

Developers

200
Curators...
Stakeholders involved in Labs
Researchers
Researchers

Digital
Scholarship
Team
Digital
Curators

Developers

200
Curators...
Labs Project and Advisory Boards
Project
Board

Michele Burton
- Head of Trusts & Foundations
British Library
Richard Boul...
Stakeholders involved in Labs
Researchers
Researchers

Digital
Scholarship
Team
Digital
Curators

Developers

200
Curators...
Stakeholders involved in Labs
Researchers
Researchers

Digital
Scholarship
Team
Digital
Curators

Developers

200
Curators...
Labs staff
Labs

Mahendra Mahey
- Labs Project Manager (Started in March 2013)

Ben O’Steen
- Labs Technical Lead (Started...
Stakeholders involved in Labs
Researchers
Researchers

Digital
Scholarship
Team
Digital
Curators

Developers

200
Curators...
Stakeholders involved in Labs
Researchers
Researchers

Digital
Scholarship
Team
Digital
Curators

Developers

200
Curators...
Digital Scholarship
Digital Curator Team

Digital Scholarship Heads
Aly Conteh
- Head of Digital Research and
Curator Team...
Stakeholders involved in Labs
Researchers
Researchers

Digital
Scholarship
Team
Digital
Curators

Developers

200
Curators...
Stakeholders involved in Labs
Researchers
Researchers

Digital
Scholarship
Team
Digital
Curators

Developers

200
Curators...
200 British Library Curators

200
Curators

• Responsible for many different kinds of collections, though not
all digital
...
Stakeholders involved in Labs
Researchers
Researchers

Digital
Scholarship
Team
Digital
Curators

Developers

200
Curators...
Stakeholders involved in Labs
Researchers
Researchers

Digital
Scholarship
Team
Digital
Curators

Developers

200
Curators...
Access and Reuse Group
• Internal group within the Library
responsible for giving open licenses
for digital content
• Meet...
Stakeholders involved in Labs
Researchers
Researchers

Digital
Scholarship
Team
Digital
Curators

Developers

200
Curators...
Stakeholders involved in Labs
Researchers
Digital
Scholarship
Team
Digital
Curators

Developers

200
Curators

Researchers...
Researchers in the Library

Researchers

• Library is a research organisation in its own right and is able
to bid for fund...
Stakeholders involved in Labs
Researchers
Researchers

Digital
Scholarship
Team
Digital
Curators

Developers

200
Curators...
Stakeholders involved in Labs
Researchers
Researchers

Digital
Scholarship
Team
Digital
Curators

Developers

200
Curators...
Researchers outside the Library

Researchers

• Main target for Labs are researchers in UK academia
(through interest from...
Developers outside the Library

Developers

• Interest to developers in academia and commercial sector.
• Labs has organis...
British Library Digital Collections
Where do you start?
1

2

Over 600 digital collections and counting…
http://www.flickr...
Sifting through
British Library Digital Collections
• Copyright cleared for research
and non commercial / commercial use, ...
Datasets, Books / Text, Images / Music,
Maps, Sounds, Multimedia
http://labs.bl.uk/Digital+Collections
Planning to launch ...
Example digital research methods

Location based searching

Corpus analysis tools

Crowdsourcing /
Human Computation

Usin...
Engaging with Labs
• Events – Hack/ Data Days and Ideas Labs
• Funding calls – writing Labs into funding proposals
• Compe...
Engaging with Labs - events
1

2

• Hack and Data days - researchers,
developers, curators and anyone
interested with digi...
Engagement with Labs…
written into funding calls
• Recent AHRC Big Data Call, Labs was written in as a data
partner, facil...
Engaging with Labs - competitions
• Labs will organise at least 2 Competitions
• Winners will work ‘in residence’ where po...
Labs Competition 2013
• Launched late April 2013, closed end of June 2013
• 22 high quality entries
– Text mining tool in ...
The winners of the Labs 2013 competition

Dan Norton (left) and Pieter Francois (right) each receiving a cheque for £2000
...
Dr Pieter Francois
• The Sample Generator
• Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of
Oxford, interested in travel in t...
Sample Generator – distribution of items

http://samplegenerator.cloudapp.net
http://labs.bl.uk

#bl_labs

39
Sample Generator – with sample
and search terms around ‘tour’

http://samplegenerator.cloudapp.net
http://labs.bl.uk

#bl_...
Sample Generator – with samples
(a closer look)

http://samplegenerator.cloudapp.net
http://labs.bl.uk

#bl_labs

41
Dr Dan Norton
• Mixing the Library:
The Disc Jockey and the Digital Collection
• PhD Researcher, University of Dundee and ...
Mixing the Library:
The Disc Jockey and the Digital Collection

http://labs.bl.uk

#bl_labs

43
Mixing the Library:
The Disc Jockey and the Digital Collection

Annotation

http://www.tompro.co.uk

Preview ‘item’

‘Play...
Mixing the Library:
The Disc Jockey and the Digital Collection

http://212.71.253.54:8000/a
First functioning prototype, L...
Other Labs’ developments
• Labs is working with Library stakeholders, particularly with
Curators who engaged with the proj...
The Mechanical Curator
• Posts small illustrations taken almost at random from the
digitised book corpus to a Tumblr blog....
Other possible technical developments
• Some Labs projects being prioritised at the moment:
–
–
–
–

Teletext corpus proof...
Lessons learned…in getting digital content
• Filter was necessary because of the amount of content, size
and time period o...
Lessons learned…metadata
• Cataloguing isn’t consistent, e.g.
1850?
• Older records don’t have subject
classification (Onl...
Lessons learned…technical
• Some content is only available on site due to licensing
restrictions
• Labs highlights when sy...
Lessons learned…human
• Those engaged with Labs early and regularly got better
results all round
• Working on site means i...
Lessons learned…working with researchers
• Release data early
• Research questions change once researchers see the data
• ...
Lessons learned from competition
• Have more lead time to allow for engagement with the
sector and longer to work on winni...
Future developments on content
• Clear more digital content through Access and Reuse group
(need help from volunteers / in...
Future Labs engagement
• Data / hack events at the Library in London
– learn about the data well before competition deadli...
Labs competition 2014
• Launched Dec 12 2014
• Close around late March / April 2014
• Start late May 2014 and finish Nov 2...
Questions…

http://labs.bl.uk

#bl_labs

labs@bl.uk

58
Email us
• Let us know your ideas for engaging with Labs!

labs@bl.uk

http://labs.bl.uk

#bl_labs

labs@bl.uk

59
Licensing…

You are free to:
– Copy, share, adapt, or re-mix
– Photograph, film, or broadcast
– Blog, live-blog, or post v...
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British Library Labs: Lessons learned in its first year

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Presentation given at Online Information 2013
TRACK 2: EXPLOITING SEARCH, RESEARCH & DISCOVERY
Tools and e-resources for researchers
Online Information Show 2013
Victoria Park Plaza Hotel, London, SW1V 1EQ, UK

Wednesday 20th of November, 2013, 1130 - 1200
by Mahendra Mahey, Manager of British Library Labs

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British Library Labs: Lessons learned in its first year

  1. 1. British Library Labs: Lesson learned in its first year TRACK 2: EXPLOITING SEARCH, RESEARCH & DISCOVERY Tools and e-resources for researchers Online Information Show 2013 Victoria Park Plaza Hotel, London, SW1V 1EQ, UK Wednesday 20th of November, 2013, 1130 - 1200 Mahendra Mahey Manager of British Library Labs
  2. 2. Overview • What is Labs? • Lessons learned… – getting content – data driven approach, lessons learned – running the first competition – other engagement • Questions and discussion http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 2
  3. 3. What is British Library Labs? • 2 Year Andrew Mellon funded project. • Encouraging scholars to do research and development with and across British Library digital collections and data (born digital and digitised). No digitisation involved in project. • ‘Data driven’ approach through competitions, events and creating an environment for scholars where they can work intensively with British Library digital collections / data. • Library will learn how better to support digital scholars and build on existing or create new processes, tools (e.g. APIs etc.) and services. • Case studies for other research libraries around the world wanting to build Labs for their digital content. http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 3
  4. 4. Our Brand… At the beginning of the project… Let loose on our digital collections Now… Experiment with our digital collections http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 4
  5. 5. How Labs works in pictures… idea Competition Other outputs… BL Digital Collection / Data Contact Software idea BL Digital Collection / Data BL Labs Publications Researchers Developers ? Events Other Digital Collection / Data Audience http://labs.bl.uk idea Meetings and visits Data Research question / idea Engagement with Labs Experimenting with our digital collections #bl_labs Tools & services to support Digital Scholarship Outputs from engagement labs@bl.uk 5
  6. 6. Stakeholders involved in Labs Researchers Researchers Digital Scholarship Team Digital Curators Developers 200 Curators Developers Labs Project Board Access & Reuse Group © British Library Universities & wider e.g. companies, startups, independent scholars etc Advisory Board http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 6
  7. 7. Stakeholders involved in Labs Researchers Researchers Digital Scholarship Team Digital Curators Developers 200 Curators Developers Labs Access & Reuse Group Project Board © British Library Universities & wider e.g. companies, startups, independent scholars etc Advisory Board http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 7
  8. 8. Labs Project and Advisory Boards Project Board Michele Burton - Head of Trusts & Foundations British Library Richard Boulderstone - Chief Digital Officer British Library Kristian Jensen - Head of Arts and Humanities British Library Maja Maricevic - Head of Higher Education British Library http://labs.bl.uk Advisory Board Professor Tim Hitchcock (Digital History) – University of Sussex Professor Andrew Prescott (Digital Humanities) – King’s College London Bill Thompson (Head of Partnership of Archive Development Group) - BBC Professor Claire Warwick (Digital Humanities) - University College London David De Roure – Professor of e-research - Oxford e-research centre (University of Oxford) #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 8
  9. 9. Stakeholders involved in Labs Researchers Researchers Digital Scholarship Team Digital Curators Developers 200 Curators Developers Labs Project Board Access & Reuse Group © British Library Universities & wider e.g. companies, startups, independent scholars etc Advisory Board http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 9
  10. 10. Stakeholders involved in Labs Researchers Researchers Digital Scholarship Team Digital Curators Developers 200 Curators Developers Labs Project Board Access & Reuse Group © British Library Universities & wider e.g. companies, startups, independent scholars etc Advisory Board http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 10
  11. 11. Labs staff Labs Mahendra Mahey - Labs Project Manager (Started in March 2013) Ben O’Steen - Labs Technical Lead (Started in August 2013) Researchers / Interns / Volunteers / Curators - Can start at any time http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 11
  12. 12. Stakeholders involved in Labs Researchers Researchers Digital Scholarship Team Digital Curators Developers 200 Curators Developers Labs Project Board Access & Reuse Group © British Library Universities & wider e.g. companies, startups, independent scholars etc Advisory Board http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 12
  13. 13. Stakeholders involved in Labs Researchers Researchers Digital Scholarship Team Digital Curators Developers 200 Curators Developers Labs Project Board Access & Reuse Group © British Library Universities & wider e.g. companies, startups, independent scholars etc Advisory Board http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 13
  14. 14. Digital Scholarship Digital Curator Team Digital Scholarship Heads Aly Conteh - Head of Digital Research and Curator Team Stella Wisdom - Digital Curator Nora McGregor - Digital Curator Adam Farquhar - Head of Digital Scholarship (Wrote Labs proposal) Aquiles Alencar Brayner - Digital Curator Digital Scholarship Team James Baker - Digital Curator Rossitza Atanassova - Digital Curator http://labs.bl.uk Digital Curators #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 14
  15. 15. Stakeholders involved in Labs Researchers Researchers Digital Scholarship Team Digital Curators Developers 200 Curators Developers Labs Project Board Access & Reuse Group © British Library Universities & wider e.g. companies, startups, independent scholars etc Advisory Board http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 15
  16. 16. Stakeholders involved in Labs Researchers Researchers Digital Scholarship Team Digital Curators Developers 200 Curators Labs Project Board Developers Access & Reuse Group © British Library Universities & wider e.g. companies, startups, independent scholars etc Advisory Board http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 16
  17. 17. 200 British Library Curators 200 Curators • Responsible for many different kinds of collections, though not all digital • If they work with digital content, and the content is freely available (or potentially), important to get the curators on board with Labs and work together • ‘Story’ behind a collection - detailed knowledge (e.g. rights, how acquired, who uses them (potential researchers working with Labs), etc.) • Usually subject experts too, so have good ideas of what to do with the content • May know about curatorial decisions about which items were chosen and answer questions around metadata http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 17
  18. 18. Stakeholders involved in Labs Researchers Researchers Digital Scholarship Team Digital Curators Developers 200 Curators Developers Labs Project Board Access & Reuse Group © British Library Universities & wider e.g. companies, startups, independent scholars etc Advisory Board http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 18
  19. 19. Stakeholders involved in Labs Researchers Researchers Digital Scholarship Team Digital Curators Developers 200 Curators Developers Labs Access & Reuse Group © Project Board British Library Universities & wider e.g. companies, startups, independent scholars etc Advisory Board http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 19
  20. 20. Access and Reuse Group • Internal group within the Library responsible for giving open licenses for digital content • Meets around once every 2 months • Curators submit ‘Access and Reuse Authorisation Request’ • At meeting, decision is made as to what kind of license can be put on the content or not (through risk assessment) http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs Access and Reuse Authorisation Request Cleared content Access & Reuse Group © labs@bl.uk 20
  21. 21. Stakeholders involved in Labs Researchers Researchers Digital Scholarship Team Digital Curators Developers 200 Curators Developers Labs Project Board Access & Reuse Group © British Library Universities & wider e.g. companies, startups, independent scholars etc Advisory Board http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 21
  22. 22. Stakeholders involved in Labs Researchers Digital Scholarship Team Digital Curators Developers 200 Curators Researchers Developers Labs Project Board Access & Reuse Group © British Library Universities & wider e.g. companies, startups, independent scholars etc Advisory Board http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 22
  23. 23. Researchers in the Library Researchers • Library is a research organisation in its own right and is able to bid for funding from Research Councils • Over 100 researchers working at the Library • Labs engages with researchers internally (and externally) through funding calls especially with digital content Developers in the Library Developers • Over 30 software developers working in the Library • Labs has helped facilitate the creation of a ‘Library developers’ group to share ideas, best practice, exchange knowledge, assess a list of web services / APIs for external access http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 23
  24. 24. Stakeholders involved in Labs Researchers Researchers Digital Scholarship Team Digital Curators Developers 200 Curators Developers Labs Project Board Access & Reuse Group © British Library Universities & wider e.g. companies, startups, independent scholars etc Advisory Board http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 24
  25. 25. Stakeholders involved in Labs Researchers Researchers Digital Scholarship Team Digital Curators Developers 200 Curators Developers Labs Project Board Access & Reuse Group © British Library Advisory Board http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs Universities & wider e.g. companies, start-ups, independent scholars, etc. labs@bl.uk 25
  26. 26. Researchers outside the Library Researchers • Main target for Labs are researchers in UK academia (through interest from around the world) • Researchers considering or already using digital content and associated research methods • Not necessarily have to be skilled in computational / digital research methods, just have a good idea, Labs can support them if possible http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 26
  27. 27. Developers outside the Library Developers • Interest to developers in academia and commercial sector. • Labs has organised and participates in Hack events getting developers to use our content to build things, e.g. – http://hackathoncentral.com/ (26-27 Oct, 2013, Google Campus, London, UK) – http://labs.bl.uk/Competition+2013+-+Hack+Event (26-27 May, 2013, British Library, UK) • Interest from start-ups / creatives working with Labs and creating new opportunities • Some researchers have software development skills • Pairing up developers with researchers at events potentially useful collaborations http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 27
  28. 28. British Library Digital Collections Where do you start? 1 2 Over 600 digital collections and counting… http://www.flickr.com/photos/t_buchtele/3422507814/ Finding openly licensed digital content can be like finding a needle in a haystack 3 Some kind of filter needed http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 28
  29. 29. Sifting through British Library Digital Collections • Copyright cleared for research and non commercial / commercial use, or close to (cleared through Access and Reuse Group)? • Curated (Is there someone who knows the ‘story’ about the collection?) • Collection / Item Level Metadata available? (What state/ cleanse?) • Where is it? • Most content is in Arts and Humanities domain • Lots of meetings in the canteen! http://labs.bl.uk Digital and online #bl_labs British Library Available only onsite, (at the moment), local events, researchers in residence, remote access where possible Available only in Reading Rooms due to © Digital but not online – various storage devices Available on site only at the moment due to © labs@bl.uk 29
  30. 30. Datasets, Books / Text, Images / Music, Maps, Sounds, Multimedia http://labs.bl.uk/Digital+Collections Planning to launch http://data.bl.uk Resonance FM 10 year Community Arts Radio Show Book ordering and anonymised reader data Environmental Sounds Text-mining of electronic journals 19th Century Books UK Web Archive Data http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs British National Bibliography labs@bl.uk 30
  31. 31. Example digital research methods Location based searching Corpus analysis tools Crowdsourcing / Human Computation Using APIs for datasets e.g. Metadata, Images Geotagging Visualisations Annotation Transcribing Natural Language Processing http://labs.bl.uk/Launch+Event (has some examples from researchers) http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 31
  32. 32. Engaging with Labs • Events – Hack/ Data Days and Ideas Labs • Funding calls – writing Labs into funding proposals • Competitions – running competitions to encourage researchers to come up with ideas, Labs will try to work with them (resources permitting) http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 32
  33. 33. Engaging with Labs - events 1 2 • Hack and Data days - researchers, developers, curators and anyone interested with digital collections working together at events, solving Brainstorm ideas & group problems and developing prototypes • Ideas Labs – researchers together over lunch, engaging with the Library’s digital collections through cards, coming up with ideas / research questions, focussing on what outputs Labs Data Cards might be generated 3 Work into the night and show what has been done Social Media Top Trumps Cards • Contact us… http://labs.bl.uk Consider and choose http://www.flickr.com/photos/zoonie/5077408371/sizes/l/in/photostream/ #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 33
  34. 34. Engagement with Labs… written into funding calls • Recent AHRC Big Data Call, Labs was written in as a data partner, facilitating data access to BL Digital content (August 2013) • Five potential projects • Labs being considered to be written into other calls all the time, e.g. Other Research Councils, National Lottery Funding etc. • Labs is another route into access to digital content at the Library • Contact us! http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 34
  35. 35. Engaging with Labs - competitions • Labs will organise at least 2 Competitions • Winners will work ‘in residence’ where possible • ‘Data Driven’ approach, i.e. here is our data come and do stuff with it! • Focus particularly on cross collection research, research at scale but other research and development encouraged too! • Help develop tools and services to support digital scholarship • Approach will be re-examined each time, e.g. possibly smaller rewards for shorter pieces of work, theme etc. http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 35
  36. 36. Labs Competition 2013 • Launched late April 2013, closed end of June 2013 • 22 high quality entries – Text mining tool in the reading rooms – Curatorial…repackaging metadata for teaching and learning in a CMS e.g. Drupal, funded through another AHRC fund, creating narratives on Oil paintings from the India Office / Foreign and Commonwealth office – Working to re-use a radio archive • 2 winners chosen, ideas worked on in ‘residence’ at the Library working with Labs (expenses paid) from Aug – Nov 2013, presented at showcase event, 11 November 2013 http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 36
  37. 37. The winners of the Labs 2013 competition Dan Norton (left) and Pieter Francois (right) each receiving a cheque for £2000 as winners of the first British Library Labs 2013 competition from Adam Farquhar, Head of Digital Scholarship, The British Library. On the 11th November 2013 at the Transforming Research through Digital Scholarship Event, held at the British Library, London, UK http://labs.bl.uk/Competition+2013+Showcase http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 37
  38. 38. Dr Pieter Francois • The Sample Generator • Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Oxford, interested in travel in the 19th Century in Europe • Creating demonstrator which searches across 1.8 million metadata records from the 19th Century and where possible finds highly significant digital samples for further research from the books we have digitised so far http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 38
  39. 39. Sample Generator – distribution of items http://samplegenerator.cloudapp.net http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs 39
  40. 40. Sample Generator – with sample and search terms around ‘tour’ http://samplegenerator.cloudapp.net http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs 40
  41. 41. Sample Generator – with samples (a closer look) http://samplegenerator.cloudapp.net http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs 41
  42. 42. Dr Dan Norton • Mixing the Library: The Disc Jockey and the Digital Collection • PhD Researcher, University of Dundee and is Artist in Residence at Hangar, Centre for Art and Research, Barcelona. • Building a prototype interface for interacting with Library digital collections, for building aesthetic, experimental, or logical links between resources; and for developing ad hoc visualizations, or publishing annotated data, developed from the DJ's interaction with information. • Working on functioning prototype to collect URLs for different media types e.g. text, video, sound and images, and then comparing two digital objects and being able to annotate in real time http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 42
  43. 43. Mixing the Library: The Disc Jockey and the Digital Collection http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs 43
  44. 44. Mixing the Library: The Disc Jockey and the Digital Collection Annotation http://www.tompro.co.uk Preview ‘item’ ‘Play back’ of ‘items’ (Blue) and annotations (Yellow) http://www.ablab.org/pd/di/ Selected ‘left’ channel ‘item’ Collection ‘stalks’ made of ‘items’. Each ‘item’ is a URL. The order of the ‘items’ can be ‘shuffled’ and sent to the ‘left’ or ‘right’ channels Selected ‘right’ channel ‘item’ Prototype design http://www.ablab.org/shetland http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 44
  45. 45. Mixing the Library: The Disc Jockey and the Digital Collection http://212.71.253.54:8000/a First functioning prototype, Labs focussed on backend – to be developed by further project, Living Lab: Library of the Future, see: http://alturl.com/284zw http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 45
  46. 46. Other Labs’ developments • Labs is working with Library stakeholders, particularly with Curators who engaged with the project (reward!) • Working on technical ‘quick wins’ to support the Library and Labs remit and release as much content possible, prioritising ‘projects’ at the moment to focus on • Digital Research and Curator team and Labs recently were awarded £40,000 worth of cloud computing facilities to experiment with for a year (36 Cores, 10TB), enabling parallel computing tasks to be carried out (From Microsoft Research) http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 46
  47. 47. The Mechanical Curator • Posts small illustrations taken almost at random from the digitised book corpus to a Tumblr blog. • This experiment with undirected engagement was a byproduct of work to uncover the hidden wealth of illustrations within the digitised pages. • Grown to 100+ unique visitors per day since its launch (26/09/2013). • http://mechanicalcurator.tumblr.com/ • Images now available on Flickr (420,000 plus images and API), http://goo.gl/OrCKZz • Using other data types, e.g. sounds etc. http://mechanicalcurator.tumblr.com/image/67461770133 http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 47
  48. 48. Other possible technical developments • Some Labs projects being prioritised at the moment: – – – – Teletext corpus proof of concept Augmenting news metadata through text mining subtitles Working with Latin American digital books and AHRC mini project Working with colleagues on providing access to the computer archive of John Maynard Smith (Evolutionary Biologist) – Releasing more content by working with curators, via various channels, e.g. Wikimedia, Flickr, other channels, e.g. Early Indian photos, Russian posters etc. • Parallel computing facilities, e.g. Map reduce activities for processing large datasets , tasks that require significant compute power http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 48
  49. 49. Lessons learned…in getting digital content • Filter was necessary because of the amount of content, size and time period of the project • Getting the story behind the collection was crucial, usually from the curator • Getting the curators on board (engaging with the competition, getting them to be judges) and rewarding them after is important (e.g. technical quick wins by working with the Labs technical lead) http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 49
  50. 50. Lessons learned…metadata • Cataloguing isn’t consistent, e.g. 1850? • Older records don’t have subject classification (Only from 1950s onwards), have to rely on titles and text mining if possible • Metadata cleansing needed, duplicate records, records not always linked when updated • Lots of digital content doesn’t have metadata, initiate crowd sourcing perhaps? http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs http://benosteen.com/dewey/ Distribution of the use of Dewey Decimal in the British National Bibliography There is limited subject classification for the 19th century metadata for books labs@bl.uk 50
  51. 51. Lessons learned…technical • Some content is only available on site due to licensing restrictions • Labs highlights when systems don’t always join up and this can be flagged internally • Some restrictions mean that workarounds have to be developed for researchers to work with the content http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 51
  52. 52. Lessons learned…human • Those engaged with Labs early and regularly got better results all round • Working on site means internal systems and process challenges, issues not insurmountable, workarounds possible, lessons for the library • Starting a dialogue with the right person is the most important lesson…it all starts with a conversation. http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 52
  53. 53. Lessons learned…working with researchers • Release data early • Research questions change once researchers see the data • Researchers don’t often know their research questions until they see the data • Researchers don’t always have the technical skills to do the research • Researchers working with developers might be fruitful as they are waiting for problems to solve http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 53
  54. 54. Lessons learned from competition • Have more lead time to allow for engagement with the sector and longer to work on winning entries • Data driven approach means research questions may change depending on data • Creating ‘themes’ linked to exhibitions • Think about rewarding small wins at events, e.g. hacks etc. • Allow more time for judging and asking for amendments to ideas before they start working on them http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 54
  55. 55. Future developments on content • Clear more digital content through Access and Reuse group (need help from volunteers / interns, very time consuming, please contact us!) • Hope to develop data.bl.uk as part of wider Library Strategy A ‘USB’ slot • Creating data ‘exhibits’ where people can take content for free, like A timeline from the 19 Century dead drop USB • Pass it on / pay it forward A ‘USB’ digital exhibition hard drives to universities / public libraries with Library digital content UK Universities 1800 1810 1820 1830 1840 th 1850 1860 1870 http://www.notcot.org/post/35623/ Ideas from Ben O’Steen http://labs.bl.uk http://goo.gl/cV0Rtf http://www.studyin-uk.com/e/uk-university-map/ #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 55
  56. 56. Future Labs engagement • Data / hack events at the Library in London – learn about the data well before competition deadline and engaging with Labs early – 12 Dec 2013 – Data / Hack Event around images (‘Unseen Illustrations’) and second competition launched – 13 January 2014 – 12 February 2014 – 10 March 2014, possibly in April 2014 too • Ideas Labs around the UK and virtually BL Labs Virtual Event, May 2013 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFt0NvbTFHs – Organising several Ideas Labs in universities around the UK focussing on early career researchers – Virtual events to allow for international participation http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 56
  57. 57. Labs competition 2014 • Launched Dec 12 2014 • Close around late March / April 2014 • Start late May 2014 and finish Nov 2014 • Showcase Nov / Dec 2014 Other Labs engagement • Links with successful funding calls • Ad-hoc collaborations internally and externally with curators, researchers and developers http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 57
  58. 58. Questions… http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 58
  59. 59. Email us • Let us know your ideas for engaging with Labs! labs@bl.uk http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 59
  60. 60. Licensing… You are free to: – Copy, share, adapt, or re-mix – Photograph, film, or broadcast – Blog, live-blog, or post video of; this presentation provided that: – You attribute the work to its author and respect the rights and licences associated with its components This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License unless stated otherwise. http://labs.bl.uk #bl_labs labs@bl.uk 60

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